Celebrations, Canines, and Cups

photoMost of us enjoy an alcoholic drink every once in a while. We all know how alcohol affects our body, but its effects on our canine companions are different because of their lower body weight.

Alcohol poisoning takes place when a dog drinks 5-8 ml of alcohol per kilo of body weight. We’re not talking about ml of whiskey or wine, but ml of alcohol. Let’s do some math here. Whiskey may contain up to 70 percent alcohol, which means that 30 ml contains 21 ml of actual alcohol. That’s more than enough to severely poison a 3-4 kg Chihuahua. Wine is about 10 percent alcohol and beer is around 5 percent alcohol.

While canines may not voluntarily drink straight spirits, they may lap them if mixed with soda. Moreover, the creamy liqueurs available today can be very appealing to a dog.

Bread dough is a less common cause of alcohol poisoning. However, if a dog consumes bread dough, alcohol forms due to fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract. In January 2008, a 40 kg Labrador Retriever in Austria was hospitalized. He was staggering, vomiting, and smelled like a brewery. He hadn’t raided his owner’s bar fridge, but his blood alcohol level was 1.6 mg per 100 ml because he had eaten half a kilogram of fresh yeast dough. The dough had fermented in his stomach, producing alcohol and symptoms of poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning symptoms are quite unclear, as they can be characteristic of many illnesses. However, your dog will probably smell like alcohol. Depending on how much food is in the stomach, symptoms manifest within an hour and aren’t too different from those of a drunk person – sluggish responses, unsteady on the feet, and either depression or excitement. Your dog can stay like this for a day or two, but if he has drunk enough, his breathing will slow down and it can even lead to a heart attack or coma and cardiac arrest.

Early treatment of alcohol poisoning usually brings positive results. Treatment is supportive and non-specific. Activated charcoal can prevent more alcohol absorption and an intravenous drip rehydrates and encourages the excretion of alcohol.

Alcohol poisoning in canines is a completely avoidable illness. Keep your alcoholic drinks out of your dog’s reach and don’t give him any alcohol “just for fun”. If you like making breads and doughs, don’t let him in the kitchen.

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Be Cautious At Bath Time With Your Pooch

photoBath time should be a fun time for both you and your pooch. Unfortunately, not all dogs appreciate their owner’s good intentions or are aware of the fact that they stink and need some washing. Hence, try not to make bath time too stressful for you and your dog. Also expect to get very, very wet.

When bathing your dog, avoid washing his head and ears first because he’ll want to shake them right away and you’ll get soaked, so leave those last. In addition, be careful not to get too much water in his ears to avoid infections. Symptoms of an ear infection are regular discharge and shaking of the head.

How often you bathe your pooch actually depends on his breed. If he’s a very hairy type such as a Cocker Spaniel, then he should be bathed once every six to eight weeks. Keep in mind though that regardless of breed, washing a dog too frequently will cause his skin and coat to lose their protective character.

It’s probably not a good idea to bathe any dog too often because their sense of identity comes from their smell and too much washing can result in distress and confusion. Of course, there will be exceptions to the rule, such as when your pet makes a mess due to possible digestive issues or when he has rolled around in goodness knows what and noses from a mile away can smell him.

Avoid soaps that are intended for human use as the ingredients aren’t suitable for canines. Always use products that are made for dogs and practice caution when trying something new.

If you’ll be washing your dog in the bathtub, have everything (shampoo, conditioner, towels) in one place and ready before you begin. You don’t want to leave your pet and go to another room because you forgot the towels. You know very well that when you return, he’ll be out of the tub and the floor and walls will be wet. Don’t make it difficult for yourself!

Some dogs love to be sprayed with water in the garden especially on hot summer days, and many enjoy swimming in pools or natural bodies of water, but somehow they seem to dislike getting in a bathtub. So good luck to you!

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Rain, Rain, Go Away – Exercise Another Day?

photoWhile most people do care if it’s raining, some don’t. And while most dogs don’t care if it’s raining, some do!

Exercising in the rain can be enjoyable and feel nice. However, there are some things you should take into account to make the session safe and fun for both you and your canine companion.

* Avoid roadways. Sometimes people drive crazy in wet weather. You can also get splashed when cars go over puddles. Stick to shaded trails where there are trees to protect you and your pooch from the rain.

* Wet feet are more prone to blisters, so consider purchasing some moisture wicking socks. Other items that will help keep you drier are waterproof shirts, shorts, and lightweight jackets.

* Don’t forget about your dog! If he’s not too keen on being in the rain, you may want to get a doggy raincoat for him. That’s right, they make them and in different styles and colors, too. Also, if your pooch won’t go out to relieve himself during rainy weather, a doggy raincoat may be worth the investment.

* If there are any signs of thunder and/or lightning, then it’s time to go back home. Getting struck by lightning may be rare but it does happen. Don’t take a chance. Also, a lot of dogs are scared by the sound of thunder.

* Have a towel ready by the door for when you return to your home. Dry your dog off right away, unless you want him to run around the house dripping puddles everywhere.

Walking and running in the rain is refreshing and can be plenty of fun if you’re prepared! My own dog loves playing in the rain and getting muddy and wet. He does, however, hate the bath that follows.

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